Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Left Coast Revival

While us North Westerners stay on our 206, 253, and 503 shit we really can’t forget about our coastal brethren down in Cali. LA has stayed in my mind largely in part to Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder collective along with the weekly that goes hand in hand with the crew, Low End Theory.

While the city that delivered some of the most timeless hip hop jams the culture has seen, in recent years it’s seen a decline in quality emcees dropping knowledge like their roots demand. As the lyricists lost their way it gave rise to the beat makers to step forward and flourish. Doing their own thing, taking cues from no one and merging more styles together than anyone should ever get away with, something new has been brewing.

Teebs is about to unleash his full length on to the public, I don’t want to spoil to much just yet nor am I truly ready to as I just sunk my brain into it once this evening. I will say this, while in the cloud and riding the bus home at midnight Ardour was the perfect sonic background. Almost celestial in nature, he shows yet another dimension to the “beat” movement we are witnessing.

While at the Airliner beats drop so hard you’d think they were sent back through time for us to get fucked up to, another LA native and long time music maker has just unleashed his debut opus. A saxophone player since his youth, Terrace Martin named his jump off after the Marvin Gaye album of the same title Here, My Dear - playing on the same theme the record is full of love talk, sentimental mood music and heartfelt verses about love and the pain it can lead too.

Martin has been a presence in the LA Hip Hop scene for ages, and with the release of Here, My Dear we are blessed with an at times self indulgent, but always forward progressing release that shows the kind of innovation we used to expect from the town and today isn’t seen from anyone making your standard hip hop stylings. He breaks out his saxophone all over the record, merges live instrumentation and beat making techniques like we haven’t heard since Dr. Dre in his prime. Love me some West coast grooves.

Those classic grooves were brought to life by passionate emcees who had voices for the ages. Ice Cube kept us all in tune with his tales of inner city violence, race relations and more - his intelligence amazed some and only fed others to come stronger, better. I just turned off Cube’s latest album. Gone is the fury to make me pay attention. And it’s not even a matter of good or bad, it just is. It sits their in your speakers and earhole, unwavering. Flat. Lifeless.

What did I put on? More of that new west coast shit! Kendrick Lamar has that anger. He makes music you feel. He spits raw, letting his voice crack. Listening to the first track off of O(verly) D(edicated) I can’t help but feel like the ghost of Cube is hanging out above the beat. This is that Amerikkka’s Most Wanted type dope.

While the world awaits for Game to drop another album - as long as he name checks these cats here, their friends and pulls beats from FlyLo’s archives I’ll check for it - and once again save the West three cats have done it three times in the span of a week for me! Stop pondering fates of dead paths tied to lost causes and open your ears to what’s around you and live around all the music you can.

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